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Health care, energy & food all could be transformed by synthetic biology

February 8th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Synthetic biology builds upon genetic engineering—something that has been around for 30 years and the results of which are everywhere in our daily lives…Genetic engineering adds new DNA to an organism, and synthetic biology is similar. The end goal of both is to edit the DNA code of an organism …

Five popular foods genetically modified by humans–before GMOs

February 8th, 2017 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eat a completely “natural” diet? Well, for starters, you wouldn’t be able to eat any of the crops developed through conventional breeding methods. That means virtually every fruit and vegetable in your local supermarket, because they have been genetically modified …

A coffee renaissance is brewing, and thanks to genetics

February 1st, 2017 / Wired, US

Genes are the future of coffee. Not nitro cold brewing or beans pooped out by civets, but genes. And coffee’s gene-fueled future just drew nearer, now that scientists have sequenced the genome of the Coffea arabica coffee plant—the species that makes up the vast majority of global production—and made the …

RNA clay offers green alternative to plant pesticides

January 27th, 2017 / SciDev.net, UK

A nano-sized bio-degradable clay-comprising double stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA) could offer a cost-effective, clean and green alternative to chemical-based plant pesticides.
Australian researchers from the University of Queensland have successfully used a gene-silencing spray, named BioClay, a combination of biomolecules and clay, to protect tobacco plants from a virus for 20 …

Answering the 3 Most Common Internet Objections to GMOs

January 25th, 2017 / GMO Building Blocks

Any discussion of GMOs on the internet brings a swarm of commenters. No matter the topic, an inevitable pattern of comment is “Yes, but what the author ignores is (insert common anti-GMO myth)”. Here are three of the most common tropes that litter those discussions. See …

Genetic diversity-the pillar to food security and agricultural productivity

January 23rd, 2017 / Ghana Web

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more …

Make agriculture biotechnology accessible to the public

January 20th, 2017 / Nature Genetics, UK

The benefits of putting a set of variation and selection lines back into the hands of farmers and the gardening public would go beyond creating a social license to operate for gene technologies. There are many ques- tions about local growth conditions and consumer preference that could be crowdsourced for …

Arabica coffee genome sequenced

January 19th, 2017 / UC Davies, US

The first public genome sequence for Coffea arabica, the species responsible for more than 70 percent of global coffee production, was released today by researchers at the University of California, Davis.
Funding for the sequencing was provided by Suntory group, an international food and beverage company based in Tokyo.
Now available for …

‘Gene drive’ moratorium shot down at UN biodiversity meeting

January 5th, 2017 / Nature, UK

World governments at a United Nations biodiversity meeting this week rejected calls for a global moratorium on gene drives, a technology that can rapidly spread modified genes through populations and could be used to engineer entire species. But environmental activists’ appeals for a freeze on gene-drive field trials, and on …

Safeguarding of biodiversity must be integrated across agricultural sectors

December 23rd, 2016 / Zimbabwe Star

Governments from 167 countries have given unprecedented recognition to the need to protect biodiversity across the agricultural sectors as a key action to achieve sustainable development, including ensuring food security and addressing climate change.
Meeting in Cancun, Mexico at the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP13) which ended on 17 December, governments …